Cubs 2010 Preview

Getting to Know Your Obscure Cubs: Starlin Castro

As the top prospect on a lot of Cubs' prospect lists this offseason, Starlin Castro isn't all that obscure. But my idea for this little series of articles was to focus on some of the less obvious names that could impact the team in 2010 beyond the usual suspects. And it might not be right out of spring training, but somewhere potentially down the winding road. And even though Castro has been hyped up quite a bit lately, there aren't many of us that have gotten to see him on a regular basis, so let's dive a little deeper into the almost 20-year old phenom. Of course, I haven't seen him play myself besides a few video clips, but that won't stop me from pretending I KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYTHING, for it's not the Internet if you can't pass yourself off as a faux expert.

Castro was signed in 2006 out of the Dominican Republic at age 16 and played in the Dominican Summer League the following year with good results (299/371/371). At age 18, he found his way to Arizona and improved to 311/364/464 in the AZL and started to place on some of the prospect lists. The Cubs under scouting director Tim Wilken have obviously stressed the middle of the diamond and with Castro, Hak-Ju Lee, Darwin Barney, Logan Watkins, Junior Lake and Ryan Flaherty, they could afford a few risks with their promotions. Castro was the benefactor thanks to his coachability and got the bump to Hi-A Daytona to start off 2009. He managed it well and as a 19-year old earned a mid-season All-Star selection in the Florida State League and then a promotion to Double A Tennessee. He finished the year at 299/342/392 between the two levels, all before his 20th birthday. The Cubs then rewarded him with a nod to the Arizona Fall League where he put up a  376/398/475 slash line in the friendly hitting environmet and played in the "Rising Stars" game. This was enough to earn him a non-roster invite to the big league club and talk that he'll push Ryan Theriot out of a job.

The Cubs prospect hype machine has been at full throttle with Castro since last year and I've heard comparisions from Shawon Dunston to Edgar Renteria to Derek Jeter. Arizona Phil's comparision may have been my favorite:

Castro has been everything the Cubs hoped Ronny Cedeno would be, but never was.

Well if he can manage to not overslide second base to end a game on a walk, I can only envision great things.

Getting to Know Your Obscure Cubs: Jeff Gray

In my quest to fill out some pages at Wiklifield, I thought I'd take a deeper look at some lesser known guys in the organization that could make an impact.

Jeff Gray

The center piece as far as the Cubs were concerned when they moved Aaron Miles and Jake Fox to the A's in December(the Cubs also received Ronny Morla and Matt Spencer). The 28-year old right-hander was drafted in 2004 by the Oakland A's in the 32nd round and saw a brief 4-inning cup of coffee in 2008 despite struggling in the minors with a 4.32 ERA.  After the season, he reworked some issues with his mechanics in the AFL and enjoyed a more successful 2009 with a 1.54 ERA in Triple A over 41 innings with 16 saves and then a solid 3.76 ERA over 26.1 IP with the A's after being called up on four occasions. His strikeout rate dropped significantly in 2009, although he still maintained a fantastic K:BB ratio(4.75 in the majors, 3.76 in the minors) and keeps the ball in the park with a remarkable 0.36 HR/9 rate over his minor league career.

He claims to throw five pitches - a four-seamer, sinker, slider, changeup and curveball - but says his sinker and slider are his bread-and-butter pitches.

He'll compete for one or two bullpen spots that will be open to competition this spring. Jim Hendry compared him to Angel Guzman when the Cubs acquired him in December. I assume that was a comparision to their pitching style and not injury histories as Gray seems to have stayed healthy so far through his career. If he doesn't make the club out of spring training, he does have one minor league option left.

After the jump, the bulk of his Wiklified entry.

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  • FYI, formatting of the web page is weird.

    JoePepitone 2 hours 32 min ago view
  • Now who can argue with that? I think we're all indebted to Gabby Johnson for clearly stating what needed to be said. I'm particularly glad that these lovely children were here today to hear that speech. Not only was it authentic frontier gibberish, it expressed a courage little seen in this day and age.

    Jackstraw 2 hours 43 min ago view
  • White Sox new stadium name w apropos logo

    https://mobile.twitter.com/SportsCenter/status/768...

    jacos 3 hours 24 min ago view
  • it was between that and "more like the CRUNCH REALLY EARLY AM REPORTER because i'm gonna c.r.e.am all over this place."

    i chose the classy route.

    crunch 3 hours 26 min ago view
  • Rob G. 3 hours 37 min ago view
  • that was the 2nd greatest piece of performance art since Donald Trump's campaign

    Rob G. 3 hours 37 min ago view
  • ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘€ good shit goเฑฆิ sHit๐Ÿ‘Œ thats โœ” some good๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œshit right๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œthere๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ rightโœ”there โœ”โœ”if i do ฦฝaาฏ so my self ๐Ÿ’ฏ i say so ๐Ÿ’ฏ thats what im talking about right there right there (chorus: สณแถฆแตสฐแต— แต—สฐแต‰สณแต‰) mMMMMแŽทะœ๐Ÿ’ฏ ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ ๐Ÿ‘ŒะO0ะžเฌ OOOOOะžเฌ เฌ Ooooแต’แต’แต’แต’แต’แต’แต’แต’แต’๐Ÿ‘Œ ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ ๐Ÿ‘Œ ๐Ÿ’ฏ ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐ŸŽฉ๐Ÿ‘“๐ŸŽฉ๐Ÿ‘๐ŸŽฉ๐Ÿ‘“๐ŸŽฉ๐Ÿ‘๐ŸŽฉ euphoric logic !euphoric loGic๐Ÿ‘Œ thats โœ” some euphoric๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ’ป logic right๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ’ปthere๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘Œ Carl ๐Ÿ”ญ Sagan๐ŸŒŒ๐Ÿ’ซif i do ฦฝaาฏ so gentlemen ๐Ÿ’ฏ i say so ๐Ÿ’ฏ thats euPhoric logic right there Richard ๐Ÿ“’ Dawkins๐ŸŽฉ (chorus: socrates died for this shit) mMMMMแŽทะœ๐Ÿ’ฏ ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘“๐Ÿ‘ŒะO0ะžเฌ OOOOOะžเฌ เฌ Ooooแต’แต’แต’แต’แต’แต’แต’แต’แต’๐Ÿ‘Œ ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐ŸŽฉ ๐Ÿ‘Œ ๐Ÿ’ฏ ๐Ÿ‘Œ ๐Ÿ‘“๐ŸŽฉ๐ŸŽฉ๐ŸŽฉ ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘Œeuphoric logic slam me the FUCK uP ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘€ john cena JOhN cEna

    crunch 4 hours 4 min ago view
  • You can start the CRUNCH EARLY AM REPORTER. Then you can blog to yourself, and argue with yourself about Jon Lester.

    The E-Man 5 hours 14 min ago view
  • my current job has me coming in at 7am (eastern)...i miss staying up til 2am to watch west coast games.

    crunch 6 hours 56 min ago view
  • Remember when west coast road trips were a good time to catch up on some reading?

    Old and Blue 7 hours 14 min ago view
  • Taboola field is more appropriate.

    Old and Blue 7 hours 14 min ago view
  • we can only hope...

    The things you have to do to pay for James Shields contract.

    Rob G. 7 hours 56 min ago view
  • I wonder if they'll have to make use of the Guaranteed Rate logo, which is a giant red arrow pointing downward.
    https://www.guaranteedrate.com

    Brick 8 hours 1 min ago view
  • unsurprisingly, the White Sox continue a tradition of stupid stuff....

    @DannyEcker BREAKING: Guaranteed Rate has purchased naming rights to U.S. Cellular Field. Will be known as Guaranteed Rate Field thru 2030.

    Rob G. 8 hours 4 min ago view
  • that was a very kind 3rd strike to hendricks to end the 3rd.

    man on 3rd, 0 outs and got 2 pop-ups and a K...Maddux-lite indeed

    Rob G. 8 hours 14 min ago view
  • how did Fowler not score from 2nd on a double?

    by making bad decisions...

    Rob G. 8 hours 21 min ago view